He really hated elbows on the table. It made him feel as angry as when they hid his cigarettes. But he had no choice in the matter. It was a conspiracy hatched by 3 women, against him. And not just 3 ladies, but three headstrong, exceptionally sensitive and explosive women. So he let it go. But the matter of elbows on the table really got his goat. How difficult was it to just rest the forearms at an angle of 45 degrees with the wrists dangling gently over the cutlery? It wasn’t hard. He had done it for 28 years in the military; they could do it for as long as they were under his roof.
He didn’t consider himself a tough man, but 28 years in the Army and two wars had left his habits a bit set in stone. He tried so many times to wear his cravat differently but his fingers inadvertently tied the same knot they always created. The shirts had to be ironed sleeves first and then the lower hem, up to the collar. And the shoes. The shoes were polished everyday. If they didn’t shine, they didn’t deserve to be worn. He really wasn’t a difficult man; he just had some expectations. Food should be eaten thrice a day and on particular times. It was better for digestion, that’s all.
But then she came along. A tiny thing dressed up in pink from head to toe. She had a vague resemblance to his daughter but more to his wife. And her elbows were always on the table. Sometimes her entire self was on it too. She insisted on making his hair, the little white strands he had left would be tied up into various little ponytails. And she never ever ate on time. She would ask for food right after lunch and right before dinner. She intrigued him. His own children had just grown up, all by themselves it seemed. The way she could sleep so comfortably on this bed and push him all the way to the corner, his legs dangling half off the edge, fascinated him. He was unfamiliar with such unorganized behavior and such a boisterous way. And somehow he was also very pleased by it.